How an Obsession with Feet Got Me to Write a Children’s Book By Chris Eastvedt

One of the best things in life is the joy of bare feet. Now I’m not a fetishist, but I love being able to squish cold, wet sand beneath my heels, pick up fallen writing implements with my toes and feel soft, spiky grass tickle my instep when I stroll through a park. When you’re barefoot, you get feedback from the ground, so not only does it sharpen the senses and bring you closer to nature, but more importantly, it makes you feel young, alive and comfortable. Once we grow up though, it’s a universal happiness that we don’t take advantage of nearly enough. Bosses kind of frown on naked feet striding through the hallways, and fellow passengers are apt to gasp at someone whipping out their fair tootsies on a plane. As adults, we get that making sacrifices for the benefit of the group is important, but kids, being self-absorbed and focused on the present, tend not to worry so much, and have a lot more fun as a result. Even knowing what I know about the dangers lurking on the ground, I’m pretty much with the kids on this one.

First, shoes limit sensation, so from a physical perspective, you can only feel part of an experience, part of the pleasure. Also, shoes are prone to making feet hot, sweaty and smelly from being so confined. I don’t know about you, but I’ve gotten more blisters from wearing shoes than I ever have from bare feet. What’s more, in this age of hand sanitizers and aggressive playground restrictions, being barefoot is one of the few acts of independence kids can still engage in that isn’t frowned upon… yet. See a kid with soles black as tar and it’s just a kid being a kid See an adult with those same dirty feet and suddenly it’s disgusting. Admit it, that’s what we’re all thinking when we see it. Most of us go barefoot at home every day, but wander around town in bare feet? You’re either seen as a crazy person or a hippy (no offense to crazy people or hippies). The question is, why? Dirt washes off, regardless of how old we are, but for some reason adults are supposed to know better and be above such a disgrace. It’s sad, really, but that’s the reality.

Parading in public with bare feet is an act of rebellion of sorts. It draws attention, asks questions and is anything but conservative, safe or boring. I think kids understand this freedom, and I wanted to celebrate that by writing it down in a book just for them. Adults already have their minds made up, so it’s hard to tell them anything, but kids understand because they haven’t yet bought into society’s fear, the conformity, the deadening of the senses. They know that turning cartwheels, skipping, climbing trees and running around just feels better without shoes, and they love it. Why wouldn’t they? I miss this kind of playful innocence, and sometimes I resent having to play by the rules. It’s times like these when I say, “Screw this judgmental and frightened version of society! Go barefoot, children. Have fun, get dirty, get hurt, and get over it! Run free, live free, and for as long as you can, go barefoot!”

Then I go into the nearest corner and weep silently over my lost youth.


Chris Eastvedt is a novelist and author of the children’s eBook, Free Toes!. Visit her at


  1. i am seriously sitting here giggling because feet squick me out SO MUCH but this had me appreciating them for that split second! lol

  2. Thank you, ststara. My work here is done. 😉
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